LGBT history in Berkshire: the project continues

Over the summer in 2018, two Reading students, George Stokes and Amy Hitchings, worked with  Katherine Harloe of the Classics Department, in collaboration with the Berkshire Record Office and the County Archivist Mark Stevens, on a UROP project entitled ‘Offences against the person: tracing hidden LGB histories through the Berkshire County Archives’.  This project continues to produce fascinating results, and readers of our blog may be interested in the attached issue of the Berkshire Echo devoted to a write-up of George’s and Amy’s work to date: Berkshire Echo January 2019.

Keeping it in the Family? Exploring familial tension and rupture in the ancient & early-medieval Mediterranean. CALL FOR POSTERS

Call for attendees and poster presenters

We are delighted to announce the programme and our call for attendees and poster presenters at the PG & ECR conference ‘Keeping it in the Family: Exploring familial tension and rupture in the ancient and early-medieval Mediterranean’ at the University of Reading on 24-5/4/19.

This event and the lack of registration fee is made possible by the generous support of the Past & Present Society and Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies in providing accommodation and travel bursaries to speakers, and the Department of Classics at the University of Reading.


We invite posters that respond to our central question, or to the themes that emerge from our papers as listed below. Those working on chronological periods or regions outside our initial remit are especially welcomed to invite comparative discussion, as are those who are unable to attend the entire event.


A limited number of places for attendees are available for postgraduates and early-career researchers working in all related disciplines.

Needs-based Bursaries

Thanks to the generosity of the Classical Association, we have 7 travel bursaries of maximum £60 to support attendees or poster presenters.

Attendees or poster presenters who wish to apply for a travel bursary should write to us at by 02/4/19 with a response to the following criteria:

  1. a) Their current funding status (i.e. funded/unfunded doctoral position, post-doc, sessional lecturer, teaching fellow etc.)
  2. b) Alternative sources of conference funding to which they have applied, or indication of why they are ineligible.
  3. c) If they have any extenuating circumstances that make conference attendance more expensive.

Decisions will be given by 4/04/19.


Poster presenters who do not wish to apply for a travel bursary can register by email on a first-come-first served basis until 19/4/19 listing their name, affiliation and potential title.

Attendees who do not wish to apply for a travel bursary can register by email on a first-come-first served basis until 22/04/2019 listing their name and affiliation.


Becca Grose, Doukissa Kamini & Rebecca Rusk (organising committee) 


Keeping it in the Family? Exploring familial tension and rupture in the ancient & early-medieval Mediterranean (PG and ECR Conference)

24-25th April 2019, University of Reading – London Road Campus

Conference Programme

Day 1 (Wednesday 24th April)

10.00-11.00: Registration

11.00-12.30: First session

Taboos within the Family Structure (chair: Andreas Gavrielatos)
Olive, Peter (Royal Holloway University of London): Re-centring debate about the Danaïds’ plea in Aeschylus’ Supplices.

Watson, Joe (Durham University): Inscribing Incest: Byblis’ Love Letter to Caunus and Ovid’s Fear of Taboo in Metamorphoses 9

Kirsch, Stephanie (University of Bonn): Taboo to topic? – Small scale violence against children and disciplina in the Roman family from the 2nd century BCE till 2nd century CE.

12.30-13.20: Lunch break

13.20-15.10: First keynote speech & response

Kate Cooper (RHUL): When Fathers Fail: Gender, cultural change and family dynamics in late antiquity
Response: Christa Gray (Reading)

(including 14.20-14.40 coffee & cake pause)

15.20-16.50: Second session

Interfamilial Conflict, Succession and Inheritance (chair: Rebecca Rusk)

Paprocki, Maciej (Universität München): Apollo, Kronos’ avenger? Divine intergenerational conflicts in light of ‘Kronos’ curse’.

Martorana, Simona (Durham University): Telemachus, Penelope’s puer: (de-) legitimation, precarious masculinity and familial liminality in Ovid’s Heroides 1.

Shields, Katharine (University College of London): “Do not kill anyone of [your] family, it is not good.” Succession, inheritance, and legal language in the Proclamation of Telipinu.

16.50-17.15: Coffee Break

17.15-19.05: Second keynote speech & response

Edith Hall (KCL): Are house slaves family? Seeking Illumination from Artemidorus’ Interpretation of Dreams

Response: Emma Aston (Reading)

(including 18.15-18.35 wine & nibbles pause)

19.05-20.00 Continued wine reception and poster session.

20.00: Dinner

Day 2 (Thursday 25th April)

09.00-10.30: Third session

Family on the Edge: Perceptions and Pressure of Family Image (chair: tbd.)

Kostecka, Katarzyna (University of Warsaw): Dealing with family failure – unsuccessful kin in the Epinician Odes of Pindar.

Sandon, Tatjana (University of Edinburgh): Concubina mea amantissima. The role of concubinae in Roman family and society in light of the epigraphic evidence. 

Morassi, Davide (University of Oxford): Tough love: fatherhood as a metaphor for political and military leadership.

10.30-11.00: Coffee Break

11.00-12.30: Fourth session

Wives and Mothers: Expectations and Challenges (chair: tbd.)

Golay, Charlotte (University of Lausanne): Reproductive expectations:  Fear and tension around the production of children within the Hellenistic couple.

Thoma, Marianna (University of Athens): Women and intergenerational conflict in Greco-Roman family: “If she spends another month with me like this, I will throw myself into the sea.” 1 (P.Petaus 29,8-10).

Patzelt, Maik (University of Sheffield): The aftermath of familial rupture: constructing and contesting the widow’s identity in late antiquity.
12.30-13.30: Lunch Break

13.30-15.00: Fifth session (chair: tbd.)
(Re-)Constructing Families

Clarke, Anactoria (King’s College London): Mantic lineage: Constructing hereditary transmission of prophetic skills.

De Luca, Gaia (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris; Università Orientale, Naples): Conflicting citizenship within the family: a Rhodian example.

15.00-16.30: Roundtable Chair: Barbara Goff (Reading)

Title: tbd.


Kindly supported by the Past & Present Society, the Classical Association, the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies and the University of Reading Classics Department


A tribute to Greek poet tribute to Titos Patrikios

A very moving tribute to Titos Patrikios, one of the greatest living Greek poets, was organized by the Greek library of London, the Hellenic Hub and the Poetry Office at the Hellenic Centre in London on the occasion of his 90th birthday. A full house of well above two hundred people, Greek and British, enjoyed a great evening forworded by the emeritus Korais professor Roderick Beaton and his former colleague Professor David Ricks, both distinguished Hellenists from King’s College London. A very rare audiovisual show of Patrikios’ early years was also projected. There were of course readings of Patrikios’ poems from different periods of all his long prolific lifetime, beautifully enacted by former ambassador of Great Britain in Greece Jonn Kittmer, our own Dr Dimitra Tzanidaki-Kreps, Modern Greek fellow and actress, and Greek actor author Konstantinos Alsinos. All the readings were interspersed with beautiful original piano compositions by the Italian pianist Anthimo. Finally, the Poetry Office’s head and author, Mr Skiathas, conducted a lively interview of the poet himself followed by an extremely stimulating live audience interaction with the poet. 










Dr Tzanidaki-Kreps performing the work of Titos Patrikios













Claiming the Classical – link

Readers may be interested in the latest CUCD Bulletin, which contains a jointly prepared piece to which our own Barbara Goff contributed: you can find the piece here.  The article considers the continued appropriation, and misappropriation, of Classical themes in political discourse, which is one of Barbara’s research specialisms.

Women and Classics at University College Reading

(By Dr Amara Thornton, Ure Museum Research Officer)

It’s Women’s History Month in the UK, so it seems the right time to draw attention to one of the best overview resources for late 19th and early 20th century women’s history I know: The Englishwoman’s Yearbook and Directory.  The EWYB (for short) was a reference manual outlining educational and employment opportunities open to women. Also known as the “Woman’s Whitaker” (after the well-known annual Whitaker’s Almanack), it was published annually by Adam & Charles Black between the early 1880s and 1916.

The EWYB offered women who spent 2s 6d on a copy (or borrowed one) an overview of their prospects for improving their situation in life.  The volumes began with sections on education and list the universities and university colleges offering classes that were open to women, along with information on fees, courses, staff, and accommodation.  One of these institutions was University College Reading. 


Englishwoman’s Year-Book. Photo: Amara Thornton


University of Reading came out of the University Extension Movement, a new route for extra-university adult education in the late 19th century.  The first University Extension lectures in Reading, a series on the Napoleonic Wars, were delivered in 1885.  A newspaper report at the time noted that the series attracted nearly 80 women and “a few gentlemen”.

Moving forward to 1892, the extension lectures begun at Reading the previous decade had evolved into “The University Extension College at Reading” as it was listed in the “Universities” section of the Englishwoman’s Year Book.  From 1902 it was University College Reading, and offered women the opportunity to take degree examinations with the University of London.

Although classics was taught at University College Reading before 1911, in that year a Chair in Classics was established and Percy Ure was appointed the first Professor.  And women came to Reading to give formal lectures: in January 1911 archaeologist Evelyn Radford lectured to the Classics department on the sites of ancient Greek games. 

Over the next decade the number of women reported as working in the Classics Department increased.  

Annie Dunman Hunt, who had studied classics at Reading and obtained with a 2nd class honours degree in 1914, returned to the College in 1916 on a scholarship. Her postgraduate project focused on ancient Greek sites in Ukraine (then called “South Russia”), so she spent her time reading reports from the Russian Archaeological Commission – in Russian.


Fig: Annie Hunt, c. 1914.  Annie was a member of
University College Reading
women’s rowing team.
Photo: Courtesy of Bonnie Ure.


Other women students working on Classics-based projects were recorded too.  The College had for several years been amassing a collection of antiquities.  Two different collections of Roman coins – one from Stanford-in-the-Vale and one from Abingdon – were acquired during the war.  Two women, Ethel Scruton and Eileen Craig McGlinchy, were responsible for the initial collection catalogues.

By autumn of 1917, conscription continued to strip the College of available men lecturers.  The Classics Department’s Research Fellow in Roman Archaeology, Donald Atkinson, was called up.  To replace him, two women were hired: Annie Hunt and Katherine McCutcheon, who had been lecturing in Classics at Lady Margaret Hall, one of Oxford’s women’s colleges.

As war drew to a close in 1918, Atkinson resigned to take up a position at the University of Manchester. His post was filled by two classicists – Eric Robertson Dodds and Margaret Leigh, who had completed her studies at Somerville College, Oxford.  Margaret Leigh was Dorothy Leigh Sayers‘ first cousin, just one year younger than Sayers. They were at Somerville at the same time, and they both contributed to a volume of poetry (co-edited by Sayers) Oxford Poetry, 1918. Leigh’s poem “The Journalist”, a searing criticism of the press’s wartime role, was praised in a 1919 issue of The Bookman. (The reviewer was none other than poet and critic Arthur Waugh, father of Evelyn.)

That year, Leigh achieved what she called her “heart’s desire” – the lectureship at Reading.  Writing about her experience at Reading in later life as a Carmelite nun she describes it as a time when she pushed religion temporarily out of her life. Details on her life at Reading are minimal in her autobiography, but her description of Percy Ure is a sympathetic one: “He was considerate and full of humour, and knew how to give us the benefit of his knowledge and experience without interfering with the details of our work.” A few years into her lectureship, University College Reading’s Annual Report noted that she was granted research leave “to prosecute her studies on the early relations between Brittany and the Celtic communities of the British Isles”.

In the early 1920s, another post-graduate student came to the Classics department: Elsie Calam.  Her special studies in Romano-British archaeology were funded by the Town of Huddersfield; she had been a student at Huddersfield Technical College during the war.

Beyond Annie Hunt (later Annie Ure), who achieved considerable success as an archaeologist and curator, very little information has been published on the experiences of most of these early Reading women. You might notice that more men in this post have weblinks than the women mentioned.*  But there is more to find in the archives – this is only the beginning.


*Special thanks to the women involved in #WCCWiki for helping me identify first names for some of the women listed here!


References/Further Reading

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette. 1909. The Englishwoman’s Year Book. [British Newspaper Archive], 23 Dec.

Berkshire Chronicle. 1885. Oxford Extension Lectures. [British Newspaper Archive] 27 June.

Leigh, M. 1952. The Fruit in the Seed. London: Phoenix House.

Waugh, A. 1919. Modernity and Consolation. The Bookman. [British Periodicals] February.

University College Reading Annual Reports.